Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Apples in Stereo: Velocity of Sound [SpinArt, 2002]
After years of taking the band name literally, I realized that not even Magical Mystery Tour was this arch. If Robert Schneider's falsetto affect evokes the '60s, it's such extreme cases as the Hollies of "Carrie-Anne" and the Small Faces of "Itchycoo Park," a narrow frame of reference even as formalism goes. Here it's played for teen ambience rather than musicianly musing. The gurl cameos help, as does the antigurl Beach Boys closer, but since the teens it speaks for are as imaginary as the era it honors, that Schneider (just barely) brings the conceit off is the usual tribute to his songwriting chops. If he had anything to say, he could be a contender. A-